Economics of Ageing

Most Oecd Countries are experiencing a rapid population ageing that will yield serious consequences in the next future: crises of social security systems and chronic shortage of workforce. Italy adds to this picture a very low labour market participation of the elders especially among women.

The raising of the employment rate through the extension of working life has been pointed out as a key element of European strategy at mitigating the effects of ageing. With respect to this challenge, Italian firms are ill-equipped: part-time work is scarcely utilized; co-habitation of young and old workers is often problematic, wage incentives (linked to individual productivity) are perceived by firms as difficult to implement as unions have traditionally been hostile.

In the past few years LABORatorio R. Revelli has undertaken many projects on the topic of an ageing workforce. In particular two reports have been prepared for the Italian Ministry of Labour and Welfare Policies: Working and retirement choices of the elderly in Italy (2001) and Forecasting tools of employment rates for ages with particular reference to the elder workers (2004). A large microsimulation model of labor supply, LABORsim, has been developed in the context of the 2004 project (for more details see Agent Based Microsimulation).

More recently, a large field study has been carried out, in cooperation with the Association of Personnel Directors, on the identification of company strategies aimed at the extension of the working life of older workers. The project is based on in-depth interviews with human resource managers and personnel directors of medium and large firms, and provides a survey of the organizational problems as they are perceived by personnel managers. Main results of this project have been presented at the conference Extending the Working Life of “Young Elders”: Company Strategies and Policy Instruments held in Moncalieri on November 22, 2006.

The LABORatorio has also participated to the EU research project Ageing and Employment: Identification of Good Practice to Increase Job Opportunities and Maintain Older Workers in Employment, coordinated by Robert M. Lindley (University of Warwick).

For the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND) we have prepared the report "Working conditions of an ageing workforce“, an in-depth analysis on working conditions in the context of an ageing workforce.

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